The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is shifting to a virtual celebration this year to honor the winners of the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Usually held at the iconic Carnegie Hall, the national celebration will now take place completely online in order to abide by the pandemic restrictions and, in turn, allow more of the loved ones and supporters of these recognized students to join in the celebration. Anyone can view the celebration on June 4 at 6 p.m. ET, here.
Among the award winners is Vitoria Sana Perez, a New Orleans high school senior whose writing earned her the top honor of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Vitoria is one of just 16 students in the whole country to receive the Gold Medal Portfolio this year and a $10,000 scholarship to honor her achievements. Her celebrated portfolio "So Seeks My Soul" reflects on her personal experiences with her family, Muslim religion, Filipino and Afghan ethnicity, and her overall identity through her poetry.
Out of about 320,000 submissions from students age 13 and up across every U.S. state, there were just 3,000 works of art and writing chosen for national medals in the 2020 awards. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, founded in 1923 and funded by the collaboration of many foundations and corporations, has a long history of showcasing and encouraging creative success in young people. Award alumni include Stephen King, Tschabalala Self, Charles White, Zac Posen, and Andy Warhol.
"These young people have produced works that take risks, speak truth to power, find beauty in the mundane, and start crucial conversations about our society," Christopher Wisniewski, executive director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, said, according to Scholastic. "Their accomplishments remind us that no matter what's going on in the world, the future looks bright. We are proud to honor them with this recognition, hoping that by opening up the ceremony on a virtual stage, the world can share in our congratulations as well."
The celebration will have a star-studded group of celebrity appearances and surprise artistic guests joining in virtually to celebrate the country's most talented and creative teens. Some highlights are appearances by Golden Globe-winning actor from Glee and New York Times bestselling author of The Land of Stories series Chris Colfer, the Golden Globe-winning writer, director, actress, author—and Scholastic Art & Writing Awards alum—Lena Dunhamk, and Golden Globe-winning actress Jennifer Garner. In addition, the title sponsor Scholastic Inc. will be honored by appearances from Dave Pilkey, the best-selling author and illustrator of Captain Underpants, and best-selling author of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.
The event will also feature opportunities to show off the remarkable work of the students being honored. There will be poetry readings from this year's National Student Poets and a chance to view and listen to portions of the awarded works of art and writing. Tune in to join the celebration and honor Vitoria and other students for their outstanding accomplishments.